‘Skinny Budget’ Brings Fat Opportunities for Vendors | From Bloomberg Government

This article is written by Bloomberg Government analyst Laura Criste. It was available first to Bloomberg Government subscribers.

Information-technology vendors to the federal government stand to gain from the White House Office of Management and Budget’s “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” released on March 16.

Although the budget is unlikely to pass as written, cybersecurity and modernizing federal IT have bipartisan support and will likely be less controversial than civilian agency cuts and the elimination of programs and independent agencies.

The plan suggests that the Trump administration may rely on IT to help fulfill campaign promises beyond cybersecurity, including immigration and infrastructure.

More Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one of President Donald Trump’s top priorities in the budget blueprint. The spending plan calls for increased cyber spending in the National Aeronautic and Space Administration and the departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury. No cybersecurity initiatives are specifically identified for cuts. The plan emphasizes that cybersecurity is a tool for attacking adversaries and for protecting U.S. infrastructure and critical systems.

The increased DOD funding would lay the groundwork “for a larger, more capable, and more lethal joint force, driven by a new National Defense Strategy that recognizes the need for American superiority not only on land, at sea, in the air, and in space, but also in cyberspace.”

The Pentagon would address cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the military, which would probably include investments in modern IT infrastructure, offensive cyber capabilities and cybersecurity expertise in the armed forces.

The blueprint requests $61 million for the FBI to “fight terrorism and combat foreign intelligence and cyber threats and address public safety and national security risks that result from malicious actors’ use of encrypted products and services.” In addition, the bureau would dedicate $35 million to gather and share intelligence data with partners.

The plan promises to protect NASA’s systems and data by improving its cyber capabilities. It gives $1.5 billion to DHS for cybersecurity offense and defense activities.

DHS activities should “protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from an attack” and improve information sharing, with the goal of faster responses to attacks directed at federal networks and critical infrastructure. The Energy Department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability would continue to receive funding to secure electric grids and information systems, according to the document.

The administration would like to invest in a Treasury Department plan for hardening “existing security systems and preempt fragmentation of information technology management across the bureaus, positioning Treasury to anticipate and nimbly respond in the event of a cyber attack.” The plan would also ensure that the IRS has the resources needed to prevent and respond to identity theft and fraud.

These potential increases, along with a likely cybersecurity executive order, means IT vendors can probably expect a jump in cybersecurity and IT modernization funding in the final budget.

Modern Systems

Modernizing IT systems has benefits beyond improved cybersecurity, such as better efficiency and savings. The Trump plan increases the budget for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Decennial Census by $100 million for “fundamental investments in information technology and field infrastructure.”

It also increases IRS funding to move from paper-based to electronic tax fillings, which is expected to save $239 million annually compared with the fiscal 2017 continuing resolution.

At the VA, the plan would continue investing in the claims process, with funding likely to go toward supporting technology, which has been the center of claims issues. The blueprint calls for investments in IT modernization “that would improve the quality of services provided to veterans and avoid the costs of maintaining outdated, inefficient systems.”

This is an excerpt from a Bloomberg Government analysis. Subscribers can read the full article here. 

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